Early in the morning of July 5, 2012, Sunspot 1515 spit out an M6.1 flare. Sunspot 1515 has now spit out 12 M-class flares since July 3. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the image of the sun during the flare that peaked at 7:44 AM EDT on July 5, 2012. The image is shown in the 304 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in red.
NASA says the flare caused a moderate radio blackout that has since subsided. The radio blackout was classified as R2 on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Scale
Radio blackouts occur when the X-rays or extreme UV light from a flare disturb the layer of Earth's atmosphere known as the ionosphere, through which radio waves travel. Constant changes in the ionosphere can change the paths of the radio waves as they move, which degrades the information they carry.